Wildlife Trust secures £1.5m for Stoke Newington nature reserve

The reserve provides vital habitat for nesting birds

The reserve provides vital habitat for nesting birds - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

A Stoke Newington reservoir which has been closed to the public for nearly 200 years is being transformed into a new nature reserve after a £1.5 million cash boost.

Woodberry Wetlands Site

Woodberry Wetlands Site - Credit: Archant

The London Wildlife Trust is opening the conservation area based at East Reservoir, in Newton Close, in 2015 - under the name Woodberry Wetlands.

The site was originally constructed in 1833 and has since developed into a secret wildlife haven which people will now be able to enjoy.

The project is being funded by site owners Thames Water with additional funding from Hackney Council and housing association, Berkeley Homes.

New features will include a bridge, boardwalk, café and visitor centre.

There will also be special visits granted to schools and community groups, and an opportunity for volunteers to gain new skills in wildlife preservation.

Carlo Laurenzi, chief executive of London Wildlife Trust, said: “The creation of Woodberry Wetlands shows that we can bring nature back into people’s lives, even in the heart of north east London.

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“A new visitor centre and walkways will give free access to large parts of the site and we will significantly increase areas of reed bed and wildflower meadow to enhance the wildlife habitat.”

The reserve is a crucial space for many species of birds, including kingfishers, bitterns, reed buntings and the song thrush, which has made a miracle recovery after a dramatic decline in numbers over the past decade.

The site is also a key stopover for migratory fowl during the winter months and provides vital roosting habitat for bats.

Cllr Phillip Glanville, Cabinet member for housing said: “The opening up of the East Reservoir will reveal and celebrate this hidden gem for local residents and beyond.

“At Woodberry Wetlands visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy and learn about the natural world in a beautiful setting that also remains part of busy, urban inner London.”